The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) announced yesterday it is enhancing its ability to support women in the travel industries through the acquisition of WINiT for Women, a career development network aimed at increasing visibility, mobility and development for women in the travel, meeting, events and exhibition industries. Through this acquisition, members of GBTA and WINiT will benefit through access to both organization’s programs, services and an expanded network of approximately 12,000 industry professionals.
The announcement came today at GBTA Convention 2018 held in San Diego, California. GBTA and WINiT leadership made the joint announcement in front of the Convention’s nearly 7,000 attendees.
“Bringing these two organizations together was a natural evolution, one that will deliver a variety of benefits to both GBTA and WINiT members,” said Christle Johnson, GBTA President. “As a longtime WINiT supporter, I believe in its mission and the need within the industry for programs and services that support women’s career development and advancement.”
WINiT Founder and President Michelle (“Mick”) Lee, launched the non-profit organization in 2014 in response to a lack of female representation at senior executive levels and at speaking engagements in the travel and hospitality industry, a sector with an employee base that is more than 65 percent female. The WINiT launch event in 2014 was held in conjunction with the GBTA Convention with more than 450 industry attendees representing both buyers and suppliers in the industry. Since then, WINiT has realized year over year growth to more than 3,000 members in more than 40 countries and has formed a diverse list of donors and partners, expanding its reach to include the meeting, events and exhibition industries.
“I founded WINiT to drive long-term change for women across our industries,” said Lee. “As WINiT entered its fifth year, it became clear that merging with GBTA would advance our mission. Their global footprint, industry reach and shared vision were obvious points of synergy – ones we believe will facilitate the next stage of growth.”
“Merging WINiT into GBTA allows us to take WINiT’s mission worldwide,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. “We look forward to bringing WINiT content to GBTA events across the globe and finding unique ways to engage WINiT members focused on meetings and exhibitions.”
Under GBTA, WINiT’s programming, including WINiT events and educational offerings, will continue operations staffed by long-time WINiT team members Dawn Repoli, Laura Richey and Sue Wyslick. More announcements will come this fall on the future of WINiT at GBTA along with plans for upcoming programming and the formation of a senior level advisory board.
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